Public opinion sought on building a better Bendigo rail system

 

News article: Public opinion sought on building a better Bendigo rail system

Bendigo residents have been enthusiastic in helping a taskforce come up with proposals to build a better rail network.

  stooge spark Train Controller

There's just one problem with updating the bus routes, very few people would still use them, doesn't matter if the bus runs every five minutes, serves a huge catchment and reaches its terminals in 3 minutes, people would still prefer to drive.

Huntly would need a station soon anyway.

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  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey


Huntly would need a station soon anyway.
stooge spark

Did Huntly ever have a railway station in the past?
  stooge spark Train Controller

@x31 I think Huntly did have a station some time back, you might to talk to some others about it though.
  N463 Locomotive Driver

@x31 I think Huntly did have a station some time back, you might to talk to some others about it though.
stooge spark

This 1947 Map from Mark Bau's website shows Huntly as having a station:
http://www.victorianrailways.net/vr%20map/vrmap47.html

Whereas this 1957 map does not:
http://www.victorianrailways.net/vr%20map/vr1957map.pdf

Presumably Huntly station closed sometime between 1947 and 1957

Both maps also show Epsom as having a station, I have no idea when the original Epsom station closed. Prior the the current station being built, I don't remember there being any sign left from the original that any station had ever been there.


N463
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
There's just one problem with updating the bus routes, very few people would still use them, doesn't matter if the bus runs every five minutes, serves a huge catchment and reaches its terminals in 3 minutes, people would still prefer to drive.

Huntly would need a station soon anyway.
stooge spark
As opposed to a train every three hours, which we're supposed to believe people would clamour to board.
  TOQ-1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Power Trainger
I caught a couple of different buses in Ballarat the other weekend, on a Saturday afternoon. There were about 15-20 people on each service. There's been a lot of work done on the Ballarat bus network to make it usable, it goes via the station and the CBD, then via main roads to the outer areas. There was a lot of work put in to developing the Ballarat bus network and it shows that if it happens in regional centers, then people will use them.

I believe some of the bus routes in Bendigo, especially those to La Trobe are pretty popular, but the traffic is also pretty seasonal. Just because at one time of the day one week no one is using the buses doesn't mean no body ever uses them.
  stooge spark Train Controller

Zh you fail to see how snobby people are with buses, they would use the train take takes 2 hours to get just one station and only appears 5 times a day over the bus I specified in my post simply because buses in particular have a lot of stigma surrounding them. And yes I have used one bus route in Bendigo, it was the route 5 to Kangaroo flat Sc, which runs every 30 minutes (more frequent then train) and is very direct to where it needs to go. From Bendigo to Kanga flat only 6 people actually used the bus route, while the opposite direction had a mere 8 people, while during my trip back to Melbourne, I saw 16 people use the train to get to Kanga flat from Bendigo.

Ballarat is the same, I took a bus from Ballarat CBD through to Mid vale sc at Mount clear and only noticed a pathetic 12 people actually using it, and this route goes via Sebastopol (or however you spell it.) And is incredibly direct to get there.

So yeah, no one would actually use the bus services, no matter how good they are.
  TOQ-1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Power Trainger
I would consider 12 people on a single bus service in a regional city not bad actually. Note that you haven't given the time of day, so no indication of whether that's people commuting to work or the station, or just doing a bit of casual shopping in the afternoon.

Could the bus network be more efficient by using medium sized 25-30 seater buses instead of the bigger 49 seaters? Probably, but those are the assets the bus companies have for now. A couple of services in Ararat are run with a mini bus because that's all they need. I believe the Woodend flexi bus is a mini bus.

I think some of the biggest problems with bus services across Victoria is lack of promotion about where they run and at what times. I think the installation of the PTV hub and electronic PIDS in the Bendigo CBD should help make the services more visible.
  stooge spark Train Controller

@TOQ-1 the times I catched them were around 2pm to Kanga flat, and around 3pm from there, although I should note that traffic was very heavy around 3pm.

Ballarats route 12 (to midvale sc) was taken around mid day, Route 11 (from Bunninyong) was taken around 3pm, I should also note uni students were waiting around the bus interchange at 3.

If minibuses have cheaper costs then regular routes, I reckon use them for all routes in Melbourne, Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, and all other cities in Victoria, bus patronage will never improve, so just make them cheaper to operate.
  cabidass Chief Train Controller

People realise this is an old article yeah?
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
Zh you fail to see how snobby people are with buses, they would use the train take takes 2 hours to get just one station and only appears 5 times a day over the bus I specified in my post simply because buses in particular have a lot of stigma surrounding them.
stooge spark
Patronage figures on decent bus routes suggest otherwise.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
There's just one problem with updating the bus routes, very few people would still use them, doesn't matter if the bus runs every five minutes, serves a huge catchment and reaches its terminals in 3 minutes, people would still prefer to drive.

Huntly would need a station soon anyway.
stooge spark
Disagree, since Melbourne's SmartBuses can be overcrowded even in off-peak hours.
  stooge spark Train Controller

@ZH836301 please do show me those supposedly real statistics that will debunk my argument, because from personal experience I can tell most buses in Melbourne will never receive more then 100 people in a week.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
@ZH836301 please do show me those supposedly real statistics that will debunk my argument, because from personal experience I can tell most buses in Melbourne will never receive more then 100 people in a week.
stooge spark
Ever been on the SmartBuses? Or the 401/601?
  stooge spark Train Controller

@railblogger I have been on those services and have seen how crowded they can be, and it confuses the hell out of me why its so crowded.
  TOQ-1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Power Trainger
I don't think you're looking at the right time of day. Remember, not all buses are going to be packed all day to be useful. Take the 419 in the North West Suburbs for example. It goes from Watergardens station, passes by 4 schools, and ends at St Albans. It is packed from 7:30-8:30 with students going to school, practically empty after that until 3:30 when students start going home. Then there's a few commuters. Because it isn't crowded between 9 and 3 doesn't mean that it isn't useful.
  TOQ-1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Power Trainger
I don't think you're looking at the right time of day. Remember, not all buses are going to be packed all day to be useful. Take the 419 in the North West Suburbs for example. It goes from Watergardens station, passes by 4 schools, and ends at St Albans. It is packed from 7:30-8:30 with students going to school, practically empty after that until 3:30 when students start going home. Then there's a few commuters. Because it isn't crowded between 9 and 3 doesn't mean that it isn't useful.
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
@ZH836301 please do show me those supposedly real statistics that will debunk my argument, because from personal experience I can tell most buses in Melbourne will never receive more then 100 people in a week.
stooge spark
Good thing we rely on statistics and not anecdotal 'arguments'.

The three stations from Diamond-Creek to Hurstbridge only average a total of 7300 (2014) passengers per week - thus any of the multiple routes in there (close to a third) with over 380k in yearly patronage is doing better than that stretch of railway.

I have been on those services and have seen how crowded they can be, and it confuses the hell out of me why its so crowded.
stooge spark

It's because your idea that people have an aversion to buses is pure fantasy.
  stooge spark Train Controller

A significant amount of routes don't even hit 4 digit numbers, let alone a good amount of passengers a day, I don't see how most of these numbers are decent in anyway.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
A significant amount of routes don't even hit 4 digit numbers, let alone a good amount of passengers a day, I don't see how most of these numbers are decent in anyway.
stooge spark
That's not the point. The point is that buses will be used if they are frequent enough (and they are promoted).
  mejhammers1 Deputy Commissioner

There's just one problem with updating the bus routes, very few people would still use them, doesn't matter if the bus runs every five minutes, serves a huge catchment and reaches its terminals in 3 minutes, people would still prefer to drive.

Huntly would need a station soon anyway.
stooge spark
Few people use the Bus, because the Victorian Bus Networks are crap!!

Michael
  mejhammers1 Deputy Commissioner

There's just one problem with updating the bus routes, very few people would still use them, doesn't matter if the bus runs every five minutes, serves a huge catchment and reaches its terminals in 3 minutes, people would still prefer to drive.

Huntly would need a station soon anyway.
Few people use the Bus, because the Victorian Bus Networks are crap!!

Michael
  N463 Locomotive Driver

Given that the discussion seems to have diverted to include the bus network in Bendigo, here's some of my observations and opinions, as someone who actually uses buses in Bendigo...


I believe some of the bus routes in Bendigo, especially those to La Trobe are pretty popular, but the traffic is also pretty seasonal. Just because at one time of the day one week no one is using the buses doesn't mean no body ever uses them.
TOQ-1
From what I've heard from speaking to drivers, patronage to the University is actually pretty poor. There are 3 bus routes to LaTrobe University:

61 Bendigo to University via Strathdale (30 mins weekdays, Hourly weekends & Public Holidays) - This route services large parts of Kennington and Strathdale as well, and gets most of it's passengers from those areas rather than the University

62 Bendigo to Spring Gully via University (Hourly weekdays, weekends and Public Holidays) - Services Flora Hill and Spring Gully as well as the University. Does OK around Flora Hill, but Spring Gully residents seem to prefer route 65.

63 Bendigo to University (30 mins, weekdays, No service weekends and Public Holidays) - Direct service between Bendigo Station and the University. Apparently, most of the time the driver has the bus to himself. It does get some decent patronage from students at the neighbouring High School, but that is only twice a day.

Route 63 was part of a push to provide better services to the university when the bus system was changed last year. Whilst this was worth trying, it has now had sufficient time that it would have attracted passengers if it was ever going to. From what I've heard, this one is on borrowed time, and is likely to either have frequency cut back or be cancelled outright after next years state election is out of the way. Somehow I doubt if most of Bendigo will even notice if it does go. Personally, I think the money would be better spent on providing services elsewhere in Bendigo. The High School students, who are about the only people who actually use it would be more efficiently served by providing them with a school bus instead. If anyone wants to go to the university by bus, there would still be routes 61 and 62.

Few university students (at least those at Bendigo) seem to use public transport these days, most of them just drive the cars that their rich Mummy and Daddy have brought them....


I think some of the biggest problems with bus services across Victoria is lack of promotion about where they run and at what times. I think the installation of the PTV hub and electronic PIDS in the Bendigo CBD should help make the services more visible.
TOQ-1
Do we really need a PID screen for a bus stop where every bus is going to Bendigo Station, which is the very next stop (southbound).
Or, on the other side of the road (northbound), the display of the departure time (which is the whole point of having a PID, everything else on it could be conveyed by normal signage) shows as -- until the bus leaves the station, by which time you don't need the PID to tell you when the bus is coming as you see it coming down the road!


Could the bus network be more efficient by using medium sized 25-30 seater buses instead of the bigger 49 seaters? Probably, but those are the assets the bus companies have for now. A couple of services in Ararat are run with a mini bus because that's all they need. I believe the Woodend flexi bus is a mini bus.
TOQ-1
@ZH836301 please do show me those supposedly real statistics that will debunk my argument, because from personal experience I can tell most buses in Melbourne will never receive more then 100 people in a week.
stooge spark

If minibuses have cheaper costs then regular routes, I reckon use them for all routes in Melbourne, Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, and all other cities in Victoria, bus patronage will never improve, so just make them cheaper to operate.
stooge spark

Back around the turn of the century, I can remember being on busses during the afternoon peak in Bendigo, where the bus was so full that the drivers had to pass by passengers waiting at stops as were unable to fit any more people in bus. Every seat would be taken, and standing passengers filled all the aisles, and even the stairwells (this was before low floor busses). I don't know what you get on a bus in Melbourne, but here there must have been close to 100 people on a single bus, let alone in a week (and yes, this would have been well past the licensed capacity of the bus). This would be repeated most weekdays. There were even some routes back then where they ended up running two busses 5 minutes apart to cope with the numbers (and then they still had standing passengers). Note that this was with full sized busses.


I can also remember been on a bus back in those days where the suspension gave out under the load, and the depot had to send out a replacement bus. Interestingly, whilst the bus company fixed it up (although it had a tendency to make a grinding noise from under the front left wheel when taking a left turn) I don't remember ever seeing that particular bus on any of the heavily loaded runs again after that.

More frequent busses these days means we don't see these extremes any more, but a full sized bus is definitely needed for many routes at peak times.
I doubt the operating costs of a mini bus would be that different anyway, the biggest expense would surely be the wages of the driver.


I would consider 12 people on a single bus service in a regional city not bad actually. Note that you haven't given the time of day, so no indication of whether that's people commuting to work or the station, or just doing a bit of casual shopping in the afternoon.
TOQ-1
There are a lot of busses around Bendigo that run near empty (or actually empty) during the day.


I don't think you're looking at the right time of day. Remember, not all buses are going to be packed all day to be useful.
TOQ-1
From what I've seen as a passenger, numbers vary considerably. School Holidays, or wet weather will reduce the number of people travelling on the bus. Counter peak services don't get many, but need to run to get the bus back to the other end so it can do another run in the peak direction.


Good thing we rely on statistics and not anecdotal 'arguments'.
ZH836301
Considering how rife fare evasion is these days, anecdotal arguments would probably give a more accurate view of patronage than the statistics. As those who don't touch on wouldn't count.... Off topic a bit, but the government needs to look at keeping a team of authorised officers in Bendigo all the time and having them rove around the entire network. Sending them up once every couple of months, and then only having them patrol the area around he station (and even more occasionally the CBD) isn't deterring the freeloaders. Less then hals the passengers bother to touch on these days. (One driver once told me that they could count the number of passengers that they had seen touch on that day on their fingers, this was around 6 at night and the driver had been working since early morning). Of course if we manage to make them pay, the we'd have the money to run more services, or reduce the fares for everyone else...



The things that I'd like to dee done to improve public transport in Bendigo would be:
* Expand hours of operation of busses. In particular there should be a bus arriving at Bendigo Station from each route at least 10 minutes before the morning express to Melbourne departs (to allow time for late running busses, and people to top up etc). Weekday busses should operate up until at least 10 PM. These would also allow using the busses to connect with trains to Melbourne. (currently the busses are useless for this as the first services arrive too late to catch the train, and by the time the early evening trains from Melbourne arrive back in Bendigo, the last busses have already gone.

* Better coordination between busses to allow for changing between routes at the station (given that turn up and go frequency on busses in Bendigo won't be feasible in the foreseeable future). I'm thinking that all busses should be timed to arrive at the station about the same time, and then wait 5-10 minutes before heading out on their next run. This would avoid passengers who need to change between busses having to wait for up to an hour at the station

* Scrap route 63 (see above)

* Redraw the map for routes 62 and 65, as both are too indirect, and too infrequent. Route 62 takes too long getting to Spring Gully, whilst route 65 forces people who don't happen to live near the retirement village (middle of the big loop) to go on a long long trip one way or the other.
The best option here would be to revert to the routes 11 & 12 as they existed from 1991-2008. (Busses would go out via Williamson, Somerville Sts and Retreat Rd [Route 11], or Carpenter St and Spring Gully Rd [Route 12], and then return via the other route, with service alternating as to which way they go first). Unlike the current system, where you have to go around the big loop on route 65, back then you could just wait for the following bus, which would go the other way around (shorter travel time), or you go around the retirement village (better frequency). This gave a good compromise between travel time, area served and service frequency. Apparently patronage on the Spring Gully routes dropped off after 2008, so a lot other people don't like the 2008 or 2016 routes either...

* Retain routes 5, 50, 52, 53 and 61 as is, as these seem to be fairly well used. Possibly increase route 5 to a bus every 20 minutes (currently 30mins).

*Retain routes 51, 54, 60 and 70 as they are reasonably direct, they do get some use, and there is no other public transport servicing these areas

* I'm less certain what to do about routes 64 and 71, and I don't visit Golden Square or Strathfieldsaye.

And, back on the topic of the thread...
* More reliable trains to and from Melbourne
* More express trains to Melbourne in the morning peak (eg. an express leaving Bendigo around 7 AM and arriving Melbourne around 8:30, stopping Bendigo, Castlemaine, Footscray and Southern Cross only).
* More express trains from Melbourne in the evening peak (eg an express leaving Melbourne around 5:30 PM, arriving Bendigo around 7 PM, stopping Southern Cross, Footscray, Castlemaine and Bendigo only).

There should be enough passengers from Bendigo and Castlemaine at peak times to fill a train without any other stops, and the greater distance to Bendigo compared to Ballarat and Geelong makes faster travel time more important to us than frequency of trains for services to Melbourne.


N463

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